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Dublin: 3 °C Monday 21 January, 2019
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Sexton's calf a concern as Leinster emerge from 'mixed' display with victory

Head coach Leo Cullen and his team will take some pride in winning on the road.

Murray Kinsella reports from the Rec

LEO CULLEN ACKNOWLEDGED that his team’s performance was “mixed,” but the Leinster head coach expressed pleasure at emerging from a physical encounter against Bath with a second Pool 1 victory in three games.

Leinster huddle after the game Leinster come away from Bath with a crucial away win. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

The Heineken Cup holders were “a little bit fortunate” with Jordan Larmour’s crucial second-half intercept try, admitted Cullen, as he underlined that Leinster have an important week ahead of them before the return clash with Bath in Dublin next weekend.

“We tried a few things in the first half and we probably just misfired,” said Cullen, citing how tough the weather conditions had been at the Rec. “I thought Bath were very aggressive, particularly in the first half but all through the game.

“It was limited in terms of quality in the game because of the conditions, but we’ve got a win away from home.”

Cullen spoke of the challenge Leinster had faced in “trying to reintegrate players and get the group back together” this week, with several of their front-liners having last played for Ireland against the All Blacks last month.

The breakdown was one area where Leinster struggled notably, and Cullen will expect much better next time out.

“We were a little bit slow into that space, we know some of the threats they have. We couldn’t have been clearer about it, so everyone is well aware of Francois Louw and Sam Underhill, but they have other players as well.

“There’s parts where we just looked a little bit off. These back-to-back games are such a unique challenge, so we’re not going to take anything for granted now. We need to make sure we understand what gets us in trouble and what makes us good.

“We’ve a big week of work ahead of us.”

Johnny Sexton is subsitituted Sexton was replaced late on. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The sight of captain Johnny Sexton leaving the pitch rather gingerly and with a grimace on his face in the closing stages will be of concern for Leinster ahead of the second meeting with Bath.

“Just his calf, I think,” said Cullen when asked about the nature of the injury.

“I don’t know if he got a kick on it or what, so we’ll see how he is. I don’t know at this point [if it's serious], but we’ll see how he is when we get back. I haven’t had a proper check there.”

Ross Byrne’s composure in slotting a 73rd-minute penalty will be of reassurance for Leinster should Sexton be ruled out for next weekend, and Cullen is sure that an extra week together will make his team a more cohesive force.

“There’s a hell of a lot of things we can get better at, so we’ll work hard again this week,” said Cullen.

“It’s good that we’ve got a win away from home but we know there’s lots of things we can get better at.”

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Murray Kinsella

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